by Jonas Terrado
Magnolia will parade former NBA player Rakeem Christmas as import in Wednesday’s crucial PBA Commissioner’s Cup match against TNT KaTropa at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Coach Chito Victolero confirmed change as the Hotshots decided to part ways with James Farr in hopes of ending a three-game skid and secure the No. 5 seed and a best-of-three series with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the quarterfinals.
The 27-year-old Christmas is a former US NCAA teammate of current San Miguel Beermen import Chris McCullough at Syracuse.
Christmas played for the Indiana Pacers from 2015 to 2017 and averaged 2.1 points and 1.9 rebounds in 30 career games.
Christmas also had stints with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA D-League, Turkish club Galatasaray and the New Zealand Breakers of the Australian National Basketball League.
The Hotshots are currently tied for fifth with the Beermen at 5-5 after losses to the Blackwater Elite, Ginebra and Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
Another loss could relegate Magnolia to as low as seventh, putting them in a twice-to-beat disadvantage against the No. 2 seed in the quarters.
Farr averaged 21.9 points, 18.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.6 blocks in nine games since replacing the injured John Fields earlier in the eliminations.
While Farr has been a solid contributor on both ends, the Hotshots felt it was best to make a change.